Last Tuesday was a day of extremes, the kind of day that reminds you that life can be very unpredictable. The day started with the fantastic news that one of my articles was on Tots100. You can read that here. I was feeling rather happy that the dipping of toes (or should that be full on submerging) into the blogging world was paying off. I was excited for what I could do next.
It has long been my dream to write and get published. Aged 4 I would sit at our dining room table typing stories on my Tomy typewriter, aged 15 I was still writing stories in secret and aged 19 I was at university studying some of the greatest stories and plays ever written.
Then real life got in the way. Children came along and I was busy with my career so I packed my writing books away, stashing them away in the loft to collect dust. However, a life changing opportunity gave us the chance to relocate to Jersey and as a result I walked away from my career (you can read about that here). Leaving my career means that I am now a stay at home Mum to our two children, something I didn’t think would ever be possible. It also means that I am now able to follow my dreams of writing. As such I am studying for a part-time masters in creative writing and I am now writing this blog. I very nearly didn’t start this blog but I made it my New Year’s resolution to follow my dreams. Putting myself out there is scary. I have already had one minor brush with a troll but I won’t let that stop me from writing. In the past I have put too much weight on what others think of me but I have come to realise that you can’t please everyone. Also I am bringing up my girls by telling them
to be fearless and to go after what they want.
To do that I need to be practising what I preach. So this is the new me and I thought I should share what I have learnt so far;
• It is really scary.
It is so scary but being scared is good. It makes us feel alive. That is why you get people that are addicted to base-jumping because they like feeling alive. So if writing makes us feel alive then that is great because it is safer than base jumping! Blogging can seem very very daunting and that is why the blogging community is fantastic. If you are unsure of anything or just need help then you can just ask. People love to help. So go ahead and put yourself out there. Build those relationships in the community and ask people for their honest feedback.
There will be people who don’t understand why you blog, there will be people who don’t like what you blog. Don’t let them stand in your way. If there are people that are offering you constructive criticism then that is fantastic and you should learn from it. See it as part of the learning process. However just ignore the people that are being mean spirited for the sake of it. There are always people who like to project their negativity onto others and the best thing you can do it is to block them.
You will need to make sacrifices so that you can find the time to blog. Mine is that I give up most evenings. However, I am very lucky in that I have a supportive husband who understands that I need to write. By writing I am putting myself out there, I am taking a chance so I want to put my all into it.
•Don’t overthink it
Sometimes I find myself asking why am I doing this? What is the purpose of this? When really the answer is simple. I am doing it because I want to and because I love writing. I have a tendency to overthink everything and worry about the final outcome. But with writing that is the point, there is no final destination. It is about enjoying the process. Enjoying the journey. Learning from my mistakes.
Like I say in my article for Tots100 you really need to go for it! Read lots of blogs as this can spark your creativity. Get involved in the linkies, get commenting and get sharing. Share the love. But don’t worry if it seems that everything isn’t falling into place as quick as you like. Don’t worry if you aren’t getting those comments. Keep plugging at it. Think about why people might not be commenting. Do you need to invite people to comment on your post, perhaps you should finish with a question inviting answers. Recognise what you need to work on and develop it. Whilst remembering that Rome (and all good blogs) weren’t built overnight. Blogging takes time and commitment.
Are you still waiting for the perfect time to start that blog? Well there is no perfect time to start that blog. Start it today, no better than that, start it right now! You might be scared and you might be uncertain, you might not know what you are doing. These are all the reasons why you should start. How will you learn if you don’t start! Stop waiting, the longer you wait the more time you are wasting. You should always start before you are ready because to be honest you are never ready.
Last Tuesday reminded me that I was doing the right thing chasing my dreams but it wasn’t just the article that served as a timely reminder. It was the school run. Normally a straight forward event but there was a red storm warning out on the island. The wind was howling and the road was covered in debris as the rain lashed at the car. It was through the car window as the windscreen wipers battled the wind and rain that we saw the large tree crashed down in front of our car and blocking the road. Had I not struggled to get out of the car park or had I driven a little bit faster then who knows what might have happened. What it did remind me was that life can change in a blink of an eye, that we need to make the most of the life that we have and that we need to chase our dreams. I am very grateful that I no longer have to work the long hours in the classroom, I am very grateful that I am a stay at home Mum and I am very grateful that I now have the time to write. But most of all I am very grateful for the tree that didn’t hit my car and reminded the girls and me just how lucky we are.
If you have a dream then grab it. Quick.